Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


You've got your life together, haven't you?

Your ducks are in a row. Your p's and q's have minders.

You can switch it on and off. And I don't just mean your charm.

When it comes to relaxation, you know that if you want to kick back you can kick so far back that, if you happen to be on business in Alaska, your foot slams into Vladivostok, Russia.

But please lie down on my plush chaise-longue and answer this: How much time do you spend fooling yourself?

I only ask because of new research that puts a number on the hours a day in which the average human being really, truly relaxes.

It's less than an hour, you know.

It's less than an episode of your favorite one-hour drama with the ads skipped.

It's 36 minutes.

70 percent of the 2,000 Britons quizzed -- when they had a moment -- said that they feel overworked.

If only they could imagine what it's like to be an American.

30 percent of these respondents said it had been six months since they'd actually relaxed. Genuinely relaxed, not felt relief because they were inebriated.

When it comes to work, there are consequences.

Your average human being makes 3 mistakes a week or 150 a year.

That sounds a touch conservative. In fact, the whole thing does.

I'll try and indulge the fact that the research was done at the behest of British tea brand PG Tips. It's clearly desperate, for entirely altruistic purposes, to get people to take breaks.

I can't help thinking, however, that 36 minutes is an optimistic number. Too many people don't relax at all.

How many people can truly switch their minds off and think about nothing?

As gadgets have invaded their lives, so have more information, more expectations and more demands on their time. Especially from bosses.

It's worth heeding the words of the great modern philosopher Louis C.K. who explained to Conan O'Brien why he won't let his kids have cellphones.

"You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something," he said.

How many minutes in the day are you truly yourself? How many minutes do you simply do nothing? And how does that correspond with how many minutes you relax?

Relaxation is about being yourself, letting your shoulders drop and emptying your head.

Tomorrow, try relaxing for 37 minutes and see how it goes.

If you manage it, you'll already be above average.

This is America. We're all about competition. We have to win.